By Paul Carsten
BEIJING (StartName) – Microsoft Corp has set Sept. 29 as the new launch date for its Xbox One game console in China, the U.S. software giant said on Tuesday, in the first launch since a 14-year ban on sales of foreign games consoles was lifted this year.
The world’s biggest software company gave no reason for the delay in the launch which was originally scheduled for Sept. 23.
The delay is the latest in a series of setbacks for Microsoft in China, where it is under investigation for suspected anti-trust violations related to the Windows operating system and Microsoft Office.
“We take great care to ensure that we meet or exceed regulatory standards,” said Microsoft in an e-mail to StartName in response to the delayed console launch.
The Xbox One console will cost 3,699 yuan ($602.76) without the Kinect motion detection system and 4,299 yuan ($700.53) with Kinect, Microsoft said.
China is the world’s third-biggest gaming market where revenues grew by more than a third from 2012 to nearly $14 billion last year.
Console games must also get approval from Shanghai’s local culture department, which will ensure they do not harm China’s national unity, territorial integrity or reputation – or promote racial hatred, obscenity, gambling, violence or drugs. This could stop some of video games’ biggest franchises, such as Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, from being published in China.
“After receiving government approval for the first wave of games, we’ve decided to launch with digital copies of the first 10 games now and will continue our work to bring more blockbuster games and a broad offering of entertainment and app experiences to the platform in the months to come,” Enwei Xie, Microsoft’s general manager for Xbox China, said in a press release.
In May, Sony Corp) said it would set up a joint venture with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group to bring the PlayStation games console to China.
Microsoft makes the Xbox One console with Chinese internet TV set-top box maker BesTV New Media Co Ltd.
(1 US dollar = 6.1368 Chinese yuan)
(Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Jeremy Laurence)